Back in the Saddle

By Mike Corbett Prior to last week, I hadn’t performed on stage at DCH since April of 2013. It was a brief appearance in a showcase for my Level 2 Improv Class, the kind of bare minimum effort that was developing into a specialty of mine. This wasn’t due to laziness and certainly not due to a lack of interest in improv, as I was borderline obsessed with the form at that point. No, my sparse contributions to shows came from fear and distrust.   I was afraid of performing, speaking in public, looking foolish…the whole nine yards. That fear led to distrust in myself and in my abilities. When some personal issues arose that necessitated taking a break from improv classes, I knew it would be a very long time before I worked up the nerve to perform again.

This past Thursday, I took the stage again to perform with a sketch showcase with my Level 2 Writing class. As show time drew near, that familiar fear began to bubble up inside me. Surely I’d forget my lines, ruin a scene, and make a fool out of myself. I tried to push it down with my usual pre-show comedy tonic: Simpsons clips, Frisky Dingo clips and a favorite Roadside Couch show, but my self-doubt still lingered. It wasn’t until I remembered something I had heard comedian Jay Mohr say on an episode of the You Made It Weird podcast, that I was able to calm my nerves. On the subject of auditions, Mohr said: “I’m afraid until I remember I’m prepared.” It was such a simple quote, but it spoke volumes to me. Upon remembering that quote, I realized that I was prepared and my fear subsided. This was a show I’d been working on for eight weeks. Some of my lines, I’d written myself and any others had been rehearsed again, and again. There was no point to being afraid, because I knew every line, every move, every moment of this show. I was prepared.

It wasn’t just the work I put in that prepared me, there are people who also helped get to the point that I could confidently take the stage again. I was prepared thanks to our show’s outstanding director, and our teacher, Nick Scott. I was prepared thanks to the encouragement and notes I received from Amanda Austin during her time sitting in with our class. Most importantly, I was prepared thanks to my wonderful classmates, with whom I had a blast, creating something from nothing. Jua, Jonda, Ryan, Colten, Haley, Monica, Ryan, Kyle, you were all on your game and it made performing with you both fun and easy. I can’t thank you all enough for that. To anyone who came up to me afterwards to congratulate me or compliment the show, thank you. The positive reaction to the show was overwhelming, and I’m sure I speak for all my fellow cast members when I say your words were truly appreciated.

If you’re on the fence about taking a sketch class at DCH, I cannot recommend it enough. You’ll have fun, you’ll learn another side of comedy and it may just help you conquer any fear you have of performing. It will prepare you, and once that happens, what’s left to be afraid of?

(Plus you might get to throw buckets of water on your friends)

Mike Corbett is level 3 sketch writing student and intern for the DCH blog. You can read more of his comedy stylings HERE.